Why Christian Science Fiction?

Why Christian Science Fiction?

In my previous blog Announcing Death Ship I touched on the subject of Christian Science Fiction. I mentioned that to my knowledge CSF is not an existing genre. But there are significant differences between CSF and your run of the mill SF. Let’s do a review.

What is Christian Science Fiction? It is:

  1. Futuristic
  2. Space travel
  3. Warp drive
  4. Alien animals
  5. Conflict
  6. Exotic weapons
  7. Far off planets
  8. Spaceships
  9. and more.

Just like science fiction. But the difference lies in what is missing. There:

  1. A Christian worldview
  2. No alien intelligent beings
  3. No vulgar language
  4. No extreme graphics

Why not just operate within traditional Science Fiction?

I may just end up doing that. But if I do I will probably continue to tag it as Christian Science Fiction. Why? Because I don’t want to deceive my potential audience. They will never see some being from another planet who is alien rather than human. Animals, may tend to be exotic, gigantic, or have other unearthly features but nothing that evokes evolution (evolution is non-Christian and is best known as Humanistic Evolution). While there may be Christians that actually believe in evolution it is a sign of their lack of Bible knowledge. So I will be upfront with them and anyone else who prefers traditional science fiction.

Is there a market for CSF?

I really don’t know and it would be very difficult to ascertain as this time. Since there isn’t any definitive genre as CSF it makes research that much harder. Having said that, I believe that the Left Behind series by LaHaye and Jenkins and other End Times novels are at least futuristic and possibly borderline science fiction. The only thing keeping them from being considered such is the lack of space travel, etc.

Probably my biggest argument for Christian Science Fiction is my personal preferences. Our world has been and is plagued by the nonsensical belief in evolution. It defies observable science, masquerades as scientific fact when it can only accurately be called a scientific theory. To be a fact it MUST be observable and repeatable which it is not (which is why Creationism is also a theory).

While it is possible that characters in my books may swear, I never allow the words to be spelled out. I have been against using swearing words in print long before I ever wrote my first book or (for that matter) became a Christian. It doesn’t add anything to a novel, often detracts from the book, and is just in bad taste. People who favor its use usually talk about reflecting the reality world; that everyone swears. But that isn’t any truer than to say everyone is slim. Some people swear a lot, some swear moderately, some swear a little, and some don’t swear at all. Let the reader supply the words just like they did in older fiction with symbols.

So the question was is there a market for CSF and I believe the answer is probably yes. Unless I am an aberration (a definite possibility) then there are others out there who believe the same as I do whether or not they are Christians. They may not be a huge market but they could be a decent size and profitable market.

How realistic can CSF be?”

Actually, it is more realistic than traditional science fiction. Somewhere within the story line there must be a track back to the Earth we know. Since I am, for example, establishing a whole new world there needs to be answers to how it all came to be. Death Ship will answer a lot of those questions. The next 2 books will provide additional answers even while speculative science becomes more pronounced.

There is another idea about reality. Star Trek and Star Wars books, and similar stories, create new worlds that have little, if any, relation to what is presently known about space. My book actually reflects a discovery about a real planet relatively close to Earth. It is possible, I suppose, for other CSF writers to invent imaginary worlds. I have no opposition to this since in fact I do invent an imaginary planet. But generally speaking the more often the reader can identify a real planet or weapon or anything else, the better.

Why do you emphasize the reader’s imagination?

I do that for any genre. And the answer is simple: A reader’s imagination is a tool that every successful writer seeks to stimulate and use. I make use of it in all my books. There are successful writers that I don’t like (their books) who violate my principles but they are still trying to make use of imagination. That is where graphics comes into play. Graphics are word pictures that can go to the nth degree.

As a writer you may have an ideal reader in mind, but you really don’t know what that reader is bringing to the table. Too much graphics can turn them off; too little graphics can be boring. That is the difficult part, finding the middle road that appeals to the widest audience without the author selling out.

But more important than that is the fact that it is the reader who determines the success or failure of a book. Some readers have very little imagination and some a great deal, but how they understand the book is directly related to their imagination. When I write a scene it at first reflects strictly my imagination. My job as a writer is to try to put myself in the reader’s shoes and edit the scene appropriately. Not an easy job, but important.

Do you think they’ll create a Christian Science Fiction genre?

Short answer is probably not. If authors start writing SCF books that prove to be successful then there will be pressure to create such a genre. I do believe that it will take time, perhaps years.

Do you plan on writing other CSF books other than Christland?

At this time the answer is no. Christland will involve a number of books over a period of years. That will keep me busy. Especially since I plan to write at least two more World That Was books and perhaps other Bible based books in the future.

Since I am now 75 it is safe to assume that such writings will take me into my 80’s and 90’’s.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), or World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One of Christland) I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review Death Ship.’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Announcing Death Ship

FeaturedAnnouncing Death Ship

I am proud to announce a new novel, Death Ship, that I have just published. You might also say I created a new genre, as well: Christian Science Fiction. I have been unable to find such a definitive genre although I have looked for it. Below is a quick take on the difference between traditional and Christian science fiction.

What is Christian Science Fiction? It is:

  1. Futuristic
  2. Space travel
  3. Warp drive
  4. Alien animals
  5. Conflict
  6. Exotic weapons
  7. Far off planets
  8. Spaceships
  9. and more.

Just like science fiction. But the difference lies in what is missing. There:

  1. A Christian worldview
  2. No alien intelligent beings
  3. No vulgar language
  4. No extreme graphics

If you’ve read my books you know that I do cover such things as immorality, murder, and other types of sin, but I don’t get into the graphical nature. Aside from my Christian conscience I have discovered that all of these things are unnecessary and often detract from what would otherwise be a good book. Actually I came to this conclusion long before I ever became a Christian.

I am aware that there are readers and writers who disagree with me, but their arguments generally are weak. One of my cardinal rules of writing fiction is to leave the reader room to imagine. It enriches the story. This even applies to curse words. In the old days they used symbols to indicate swear words which allowed the reader to provide their own if they wanted to do so.

Today we live in a world where people want “realism,” yet often settle for sensationalism. It’s like reality TV is anything but real. That is sad. But just as Christian fiction takes a different route, Christian Science Fiction takes another route.

In Death Ship you have all the elements of good science fiction and so much more. You have the latest planet Ross 128 b, which was discovered in 2017; you have modern day inventions that either are currently existing or on the drawing boards. In addition, there is a spaceship that is definitely future yet already we see true science speculating about such ships.

The story revolves around a world in turmoil. World War III is started by assassinations of city and national leaders in England and Europe. These take place at the instigation of Arab terrorists. England, Europe, and the United States attack the terrorist’s camps bringing on a world war. While the Arab terrorist network is wiped out, the western world is weakened, including the United States. A new world government is formed and their first decision is to ban religion of all brands, including Christianity. But the Christians, although driven underground, remain faithful. This brings on the campaign to exterminate them that results in 80 Christians beings selected as scientific guinea pigs.

Placed onboard the Gardenia, a converted luxury Science Research ship, they are sent off into space to be used for scientific research. The ultimate aim is to crash into a Red Dwarf star (Gliese 876) and a fiery death. But General Abner Smith, eager to see how Christians would react in space to unexpected problems, has prepared the ship with obstacles for them to face. And he purposely chose Christians, unused to leadership roles, with both knowledge and experience. His goal is for them to rebel and take over the ship only to find that they remain in his hands.

Death Ship is now available on Amazon both in print and digital format.

Title: Death Ship
Series: Christland
Book #1
Publisher: T&R Independent Books
ISBN: 1986066045
ISBN-13: 978-1986066044
Pages: 254
Retail: $17.99
Ingram’s Availability: Yes

And because this book has just been published you have the opportunity to be among the very first reviewers. Don’t let that scare you, embrace it. If you took the time to read the book then you have the right to do a review. Read the book, Review the book, and Post the review on Amazon.com. For further information read the following paragraph.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), or World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One) I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review Death Ship.’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and I will rush you a free PDF copy.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Announcing World of Shem

Announcing World of Shem

I am happy to announce my latest novel World of Shem is now in print and digital format. This novel, a major rewrite of the Rise of Shem, is book 3 of my series The World That Was.  world-of-shem-kdp-11-14-17-for-kindle.jpg

All three books (Perished, World of Noah and the Ark, and World of Shem) are told in a manner that is not only faithful to the Bible but strives to bring the Bible alive to both Christian and non-Christian reader alike. Perhaps because it is a rewrite of a previous novel or perhaps because it is my latest novel, it is my current favorite.

I love to write, but there is something special about writing Bible based stories. I think the reason is that the stories not only bring the Bible alive to readers but to myself as well. In so doing I am able to dig deeper and gain an understanding of the events and people. And of God!

I imagine this is akin to any writer who bases their books on history. In the process of writing you dig deep finding out about the foods people ate, the clothes they wore, and the methods of transportation used. Such knowledge grants both the writer and the reader a greater appreciation of both the events and the people involved.

My study of the people, places, and events of the World of Shem impacted my life. I was particularly impressed with how rapidly civilization grew after the world wide flood. Everything had been destroyed. Yet within 300-500 years a thriving civilization existed again. The only explanation I have is that Noah must have taken a great many tablets (probably mostly clay) with him upon the Ark. These tablets would have contained a great deal of the knowledge of the Old World that perished.

But it was the character of Shem that attracted me the most. The Bible tells us very little about this man, but as I wrote the story I watched his character develop to the point I felt like I knew him. I don’t claim my characterization of him is 100% accurate, but I believe it is a good representation of him.

Having written the book and now published it I am looking for potential reviewers. I can provide the book in a variety of formats (Epub or PDF, for example) at no cost and no conditions, other than the reviewer reads the book through and gives an honest appraisal. I would prefer the 1 through 5 ranking system. If you are able to provide an Amazon review, so much the better.

If you are interested in reviewing the book please email me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Please put “Book Review Request” in the subject line. That will get my immediate attention and response. It would be helpful if you would state the format desired (such as paperback, PDF, or Epub). If you have another format you’d like mention it and I will try to accommodate you.

Whether you review the book or not, happy reading!

Title: World of Shem
Publisher: T&R Independent Books
Printer: CreateSpace
ISBN: 10: 154242383x or 13: 978-1542423830
Contact for Reviews: Marketing@tr-indbkstore.com
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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Is Writing A Service To God?

Is Writing A Service To God?

Recently I blogged about my journey of faith. Today I want to get back on track and talk about serving God as an author.

Is writing fiction really serving God?

That’s a reasonable question since some people believe that it is not true service. I once was upbraided for writing novels based on the Bible because:

  • People will mistake it for the truth

  • Thereby getting wrong doctrine

There are a few things wrong with that view:

  1. The Bible is found in the Bible or Religion section of bookstores not in the fiction section

  2. Novels are found in the Fiction section not in the Religion section

  3. My books state they are novels

  4. My novels are purposely based on Biblical fact and doctrine

  5. My novels flesh out the stories rather than disagree

In other words, no person who has read my books can seriously claim they teach false doctrine. If there is any doctrine in the book it always agrees with the Bible. In fact, I have been told my books “bring the Bible alive!”

Actually one of the reasons for writing Bible based novels is to encourage people to read the Bible; to discover what is Bible fact and what is a product of my imagination. It is always a thrill when someone reads my books and their faith is either renewed or they become more interested in reading the Bible.

And that is a service!

The true test of service, any kind of service, is as follows: Does it

  • Agree with Biblical facts

  • Honor God

  • Inspire people to read the Bible

  • Inspire people to worship God

  • Inspire others to serve God

  • Inspire people to live godly lives

It needn’t do all the above but it should have at least one of the elements. Christian authors, whether fiction or non-fiction writers, have an awesome opportunity to influence people for Christ. You don’t have to be preachy. You don’t even have to write about Bible events or people. But our writings should reflect a Christian approach to life.

My books generally take place before the birth of Christ yet I strive to present a Christian view. So while I don’t mention Jesus, I do mention the Redeemer. In addition, I emphasize the Scriptures (aka the Writings).

So if you’re a Christian author don’t be shy about being one. You have a job, perhaps a calling. Trust His leading and do things His way. And when people challenge you respond in pride, “I write because God gave me the talent and because He wants me to use it for Him.”

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

What To Do About Bad Reviews?

What To Do About Bad Reviews?

I have been very blessed that so far I have had only one bad review. Some authors have had more than that, but no matter how many you get it hurts.

So what do you do about bad reviews?

A few years back I received such a review about the novel Perished. Sandwiched between 4 star and 5 star reviews it still offended me. Did I write a nasty letter to the reviewer? Did I erase the review from Amazon?

No, and no. The worst mistake you can make is to remove a negative review. Actually a negative review highlights the positive reviews. Readers will see that lonely negative review and also the positive reviews. And most will rightly decide something was wrong with the reviewer.

The young man reviewing my book actually pointed out the problem in his review. He admitted that he didn’t finish the book. Then he proceeded to tell his reasons for not finishing the book.

And this is where anyone who read the book would immediately know the problem. He not only didn’t read the book to the finish, he jumped around. His main complaint was that some of the characters did not remain true to their characterization at the beginning. I spotted this immediately.

One of the problems with writing historical fiction is that some of the characters in the book are drawn from actual historical accounts. In the case of Perished I was writing about actual Biblical events and people which required the use of real names.

Sometimes these names were identical to others. So it was possible to have two or more characters with the same name. Now if the reader is following the story as it was written, it is easy to determine which character is front and center. But if you jump around, never a good idea, then you could easily get confused as to which character you are reading about.

So the review was not only a bad rating (2 stars), but it was a poor review in approach and content. One side of me wanted to write him and point out his failings, but I didn’t do that. Why?

Because doing so is not good form. Most writers and teachers of writing will warn you not to criticize the reviewer. It simply offends others.

So I bit my tongue, metaphorically speaking, and left the review there. As I stated earlier it highlights the 4 and 5 star reviews. It becomes a plus and eventually helps the marketing.

Another response though is to take that negative review and ask yourself questions. In this case I asked myself if I could have done a better job of identifying which character was present? Most of the time the answer to that question is yes.

It’s possible that I could have eliminated certain characters and used alternate or even fictional characters instead. Sometimes when complaints come you can rewrite the book or at least certain scenes. The principle here is to treat negative reviews as a learning experience.

You can also treat good reviews the same way. Sometimes a reviewer may point out an error or a problematic tendency in the book even though they gave the book 5 stars. Once again you can take that and turn it into a learning experience.

Which brings me to another point or principle: leaving the negative review in place can serve as a reminder to you (or me) that you can’t please all the people. So don’t take it personally. Instead try to turn it into a positive learning experience both in marketing and in writing. Such an attitude will improve you as a writer.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

 

 

I Will Show Forth All Thy … Works

I Will Show Forth All Thy … Works

The last part of Psalm 9:1 relates well to one of my favorite verses that inspires my writing, Psalm 71:18b, “until I have shown thy strength unto this generation.”(KJV). Here’s all of Psalm 9:1:

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works” (KJV).

Speaking as a Christian author these verses speak volumes to me. Since I believe God called and enabled me to write I feel it is important that my writings reflect His will, plans, and strength. You might say it makes sense since I write novels based on the Bible. But it would be true no matter what I wrote. For example, my novel Dead Eye Will is based on American history not Biblical. But I still wanted to honor God.

I think it can be safely said that authors like Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins, and a host of Christian authors would be like-minded. The truth is that Christian authors are a cut above the average author. Don’t get me wrong, I am not speaking of talent or even smarts. I am talking about that when a professing Christian endeavors to do anything he/she is representing God. That puts a special burden upon us.

How we react to that burden or perhaps I should call it a challenge will impact how well we perform. And the burden doesn’t guarantee success. It is simply a challenge that affects how we approach writing whether it’s a novel or non-fiction.

This principal affects whatever a Christian does, whether a plumber, artist, teacher, CEO, laborer, or whatever. God expects us to put forth our very best and when we do, we reflect His works and His strength. It is our motivation. Because of what He did for us, we want to please Him and to tell others about Him.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

When I consider Thy heavens

When I consider Thy heavens

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

This passage is deep with a rich supply of theology and application. But I want to zoom in on the first part: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.

The pride of men is such that they see all the handiwork of God, but refuse to believe that it was created by God. That view has pervaded our schools, government, and some churches. But the truth is that God is the Creator!

As a Christian author I have more than one motive for writing. Like all novelists I write to entertain, but I also have a Christian  motive: Psalm 71:18b, “until I have shown thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.”

I don’t know what your motive is, but I imagine that assuming you’re a Christian you want to be a witness and to influence people for Christ. That doesn’t mean your book(s) have to preach or present the gospel, but it does mean that your book(s) should reflect your Christian beliefs.

As an example, I write historical fiction, primarily Biblical, while my wife is writing her first novel which is a mystery aimed at teens and adults. My Biblical books are based on actual events recorded in the Bible, whereas my wife’s novel will reflect modern living. In other words, we are writing for two entirely different genres.

Let’s get back to my books. My writings explore the relationships man has had with the Creator. Since my books are based on actual events they also include actual people some of which are good and some bad. Exploring this relationship excites me. It takes me deeper into God’s Word, which not only benefits the books but it benefits my own spiritual journey.

The worship of the Creator has been and still is a foundational doctrine for the Christian faith. Only the Creator has the right to be worshiped. Not only that but He has the right to demand our obedience to His will! He didn’t create us and then walk away. Every day He watches us and takes pleasure in us when we do His will. And I find that to be a blessing and an encouragement rather than a threat.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

How I Wrote Perished Part II

How I Wrote Perished Part II

Back in July I wrote Part I about writing Perished. I had intended to write Part II before now but got a little sidetracked by other projects. I did write about Noah, but Part II is actually about the research involved in writing the novel.

Research is almost a dirty word, but it is necessary for both the non-fiction and fiction writer. For a novel to connect with the reader it needs to have actual facts. I use two methods of relating the facts:

  • To tell pertinent facts before and after the story (such as seen in the World of Noah and the Ark).
  • To include facts within the story (a practice I use in all my novels).

But how did I get the facts?

There are a number of ways.

  • Read the Bible accounts (assuming your book is based on the Bible).
  • Read history books.
  • Do a deep internet search.
  • Use logic based on historical facts.

If you are writing about the Bible it is obvious that you need to spend a great deal of time in the Bible. In the case of Perished I not only spent time in the Book of Genesis but I used other books in the Old Testament and New Testament that related to the subject. That required a great deal of time and effort.

The second item mentioned was reading history books. Not cover to cover but selecting those portions dealing with the subject. Depending on how many books you research this could take some time.

The third thing mentioned was do a deep internet search. By deep internet search I simply mean using search engines, such as Google, to search out the subject and find relevant resources. But a word of caution. While the internet is a rich source of information there is also false information. For example, there are sites that are anti-Bible. Some are self-proclaimed, but there are others who are more subtle. So you must be discerning. Find reliable resources such as Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research. There are others but these are extremely reliable.

But it is the fourth item I want to spend some time on. While the Bible is true and accurate it only relates information that God wanted us to know. The whole purpose of the Bible is to show us our sin and need for a Saviour and that Christ is that Saviour. So it only relates the historical facts needed.

When writing Perished I ran into a big obstacle. While the Bible gives us a lot of facts about the world existing before the Flood, it doesn’t break it down for us. Added to this is the lack of secular history, especially anything reliable. A good example of unreliable secular history is the history of Egypt. If you want to spend a day or so struggling to put it all together try understanding Egyptian history in the light of world history. Very difficult.

So I was faced with a big unknown. I knew that the people from Adam to Noah were very intelligent and built cities, but I had no historical proof. That gap has been filled by man with evolution, which is strictly theoretical, unproven, and contrary to the Bible.

So how did I resolve this issue?

Let me give you a challenge: Find a history book that you think is reliable and start reading from known history beginning with Nimrod and other world leaders. Study the civilization that existed. Take a look at the:

  • Government.
  • Arts.
  • Industry.
  • Warfare.
  • and more.

I think you’d agree it was a very developed society. Now take a look at the preceding civilization. Evolution teaches eons of time, yet there is no real evidence that conclusively shows evolution. Instead there is evidence of a worldwide cataclysm, which we know was the Flood. So we arrive at a question: How did mankind go from a caveman society to a sophisticated society? Or, Biblically speaking, how did the world recover from the worldwide Flood which destroyed everything to a sophisticated society?

We are speaking of a 300 to 500 year time span. How is that possible? Well, logic tells us that it is impossible for that degree of sophistication to develop in such a short time from virtually nothing. BUT if Noah brought the knowledge over the Flood to the new world then everything falls into place!

And that opens up a window into the past!

It occurred to me that if I looked closely at the first 300-500 years after the Flood I had a window into what the previous civilization was like. While scientists never seem to consider such a fact, the movie industry easily adopted it. The movies I have watched, anyway, have shown a society that was quite sophisticated. Not because the industry believed the Bible, but because they had to use what they knew.

So when studying the ancient past prior to the Flood we have a window that shows us what that world was like before it was destroyed. And thereby I was able to construct that world within the pages of Perished.

Which is what research is all about. Now most of the time research isn’t so complicated. But it is needed! When someone buys a novel they want to be entertained, but they also want the world it takes place in to be accurate, true, and with some detail.

When I wrote Dead Eye Will, which took place during and after the War of 1812, I had to do a lot of research. Since most of the story took place in Ohio, Michigan, and portions of Canada I had quite a lot of research. But once again it involved three items – reading history, deep internet research, and logic.

Is it worth it?

My answer is as follows: By far most of the readers have rated my books 4 and 5 stars. One of the reasons was that I brought the story alive. The reader was able to enter the world and almost participate in it. And that is what any author wants!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Go to the ant, thou sluggard

Go to the ant, thou sluggard

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” Prov. 6:6.

Has God called you to be a writer? Is it hard? Do you feel like quitting?

Here in Proverbs we learn that God takes a dim view of laziness and basically not doing the work. It is true that writing can be hard work. But if God truly called you to be a writer He never provided the option of quitting.

But I know how you feel. Before I ever published my first novel I often felt like quitting. Especially when a story would suddenly hit the wall and I knew it was going nowhere. While I did quit the novel, I never quit writing. And it is important to know there is a difference!

Anyone who has been a writer for awhile has had to change directions at least once but probably more often than they might want to admit. When writing you are investing a part of yourself and it becomes very difficult to stop and reject the work. However, if you consider what you have learned about writing during the project then it has not been a waste of time and effort. Instead you have learned something you can use in your next project.

Quitting as a writer is altogether different. By quitting you are saying that God never called you. If you say no, God called you and it didn’t work out then you are saying God made a mistake. God never makes mistakes! So you need to re-evaluate your calling. Did He call you to be an author or not? If He did then you can’t quit, because it would be disobedience.

Assuming therefore God called you to be a writer then you need to evaluate your writing. What is stopping you? Are you in the right genre? Do you need additional skills?

When I was trying to write and not succeeding it was very frustrating. To offset this I wrote computer programs (most of which were used only personally) and poetry (which helped me win my wife). But behind it all I still had that drive, that calling to write. I often prayed about it and would pick up pen and paper and try again. I even developed a model train hobby that I converted into a story. It didn’t work, but my point is I kept trying.

In my case the solution came through my daily devotions as God showed me that the Bible is loaded with true stories waiting to be the foundation for novels. Your experience will probably be different except that God is just as interested in your success as mine. So keep your prayer life strong and listen for His guidance.

Not only did God open the door for my writing career to open, He also opened the door for my wife and I to become the publisher of our own books (soon she will have her first novel published). In 2014 God gave me the idea for being a self-publisher in the truest form. I talked to my wife and she immediately was enthused. Thus was born T&R Independent Books with her as president and yours truly as vice president. This decision opened the door for us and provided us not only with greater potential earnings but with greater control over every aspect of writing. But it wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t listening to God!

It is my belief that roadblocks in a Christian’s life are there for a reason. Sometimes it means quit  a project to be sure, but never to quit doing His will. Roadblocks come with multiple solutions which could include plowing through them, going around them, going over them, or even going under them. In other words, roadblocks are often opportunities. We just need to stop, pray, and seek to discover what the opportunity facing us might be.

So if you’ve been called to write don’t let a roadblock stop you. It might just be God trying to get your attention and redirect your path.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Bind them continually upon thine heart

Bind them continually upon thine heart

“Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.” Prov. 6:21

This verse is referencing the Word of God as the Father’s commandments. Today I want to apply it specifically to authors.

Perhaps because I am an author I am slightly biased. Since we deal with communicating to people, albeit through fiction, I think we need God’s wisdom to a very high degree.

Thousands of books are published every week and tens of thousands every year. All authors are trying to sell their books to the widest audience possible. I am no exception. And we need God’s wisdom if we are to succeed.

I’ve talked before about the principles of God’s Word and I don’t want to be merely repeating myself. So instead of talking about marketing advice seen through the lens of the Bible, I want to talk about God’s wisdom and how it helps us write better.

Every book I’ve written has been bathed in prayer. It is not enough to merely follow principles, whether they are secular or spiritual. Writing is more than that. It involves the plot of the work, the characters involved, and the cohesiveness of the story. For that to happen requires a great deal of skill. But it also demands more.

People talk about inspiration being required. I’ve talked about being inspired, but it goes beyond simply being inspired to write. We need God’s guiding hand as we write every scene and develop every character.

It can be taxing, but when we have God in our corner it makes things much easier. Whether writing Perished, or World of Noah and the Ark, or even the current writing of World of Shem I have needed God’s guidance. I seek God’s guidance. I’m not talking about formal prayer, which I do, but of communicating to God throughout the process.

This involves talking to Him about every scene, indeed every word. I approach my writing in the spirit of open prayer. Sometimes it is unconscious praying and sometimes I actually ask Him directly. I ask questions like,

  • How do I write this scene?
  • Is this scene too suggestive?
  • Is this character believable?

Sometimes I have typed several words or entire sentences and upon further evaluation have erased them. We’ve all done this, but the question is was God involved in the process.

How do I involve God?

That’s not a hard question to answer. If you are a Christian, having received Christ as your Savior and you have been called to write, then you can expect His involvement. He doesn’t call and then abandon.

On the other hand, He doesn’t force His Will upon us. According to Psalm 32:8 He will guide us. That is a two-fold promise. On the one hand, God promises to guide us, but on the other hand we are responsible to listen to Him and obey.

What a great feeling it is when we have written a story and can say that God helped us all along the way! Whatever genre you write in you can count on His help as long as you are doing it His way. And that is a source of a huge sense of confidence and peace.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.